Tag Archives: prescription

DHEC in the News: Opioids, drug take back day, flu & more

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Opioid crisis continues to hit Greenville County

Charles Cureton describes himself as a lifelong heroin addict.

The 69-year-old has overdosed on the drug several times throughout the years. Each time, including last month, he survived.

“It just ain’t my time,” the Greenville resident said.

Each year, hundreds of people in South Carolina die from opioid-related overdoses. The crisis has reached the point that the deaths may surpass traffic fatalities when the statistics are released this year.

Conway Police helps host drug take back event

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Conway Police partnered with Shoreline Behavioral Health Services and Horry County CAST Coalition for a prescription drug tack back day, Saturday.

General Interest

Flu season is not over yet, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautions

The number of people sick with flu has continued to decrease across the nation, but experts warn that the season is not over yet. New York City and 21 states continued to experience high activity of flu-like illness during the week ending March 3, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday in its weekly surveillance report.

Looking at the data for recent weeks, CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said, “we’re still continuing to see a decline in influenza-like activity. Even though It looks like all signs point to decreasing influenza activity, we’re still in what we normally think of as flu season.”

Controlled burns benefit our forests

The weather in South Carolina in March can be characterized as crisp, cool and perfect for a controlled burn. That’s why it’s fitting that Gov. Henry McMaster has proclaimed March 2018 Prescribed Fire Awareness Month.

Prescribed burning is a very important management tool here in the Southeastern U.S. It is a necessary tool for both managers of forests and crop fields.

DHEC in the News: Flu, opioids, child vaccine rates

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

9 Died from Flu in South Carolina Last Week Alone

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – State health officials say nine people have died from the flu in South Carolina in the past week.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control said the deaths during the second of January mean that two dozen people have died from influenza this season, which started in October.

General Interest

Walmart is giving away free opioid disposal kits

Walmart is trying to help curb America’s opioid crisis.

The retail chain said Wednesday that its pharmacies will offer a free kit that allows patients to safely throw out unused opioid prescription pills at home. The packet, called DisposeRx, dissolves pills into a biodegradable gel.

Child vaccine rates higher in South Carolina than national average even as more parents refuse

More than three-quarters of South Carolina children insured by BlueCross BlueShield received their recommended vaccines for measles, mumps, hepatitis B and other infectious diseases between 2010 and 2016, even as a growing number of parents refuse to vaccinate their children, a new national report shows.

In this state, 77.8 percent of these children were appropriately vaccinated, compared to 73.5 percent nationally.

DHEC Encourages Disposal of Unused Prescription Drugs through Take-Back Programs

Saturday, October 28, marks the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. You can drop off unused prescription drugs at participating collection sites between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday.

Held twice a year, this national observance aims to provide a safe, convenient and responsible way to dispose of prescription drugs, while educating the public about the potential for abuse of medication.

In South Carolina, 102 prescriptions for painkillers are now written for every 100 residentsIn 2015, there were 570 accidental prescription drug overdose deaths in the state.

To help address this problem, DHEC is working with health care providers and pharmacists across the state to identify and stop prescription drug abuse. DHEC’s Bureau of Drug Control is charged with administering the South Carolina prescription monitoring program.  The centralized database, known as the South Carolina Reporting and Identification Prescription Tracking System (SCRIPTS), allows authorized users access to controlled substance dispensing data, helping to make it easier for South Carolina doctors and pharmacists to identify and report potential prescription drug abuse.

The intent of the database is to improve the state’s ability to identify and stop the diversion of prescription drugs in an efficient and cost-effective manner while not hindering the appropriate medical use of controlled substances where there is a valid prescriber-patient or pharmacist-patient relationship.

Make use of take-back programs

DHEC encourages the disposal of unused household medications through take-back programs, as well as drop-off collection boxes, as a way to effectively serve and protect the citizens of South Carolina.

The take-back programs help reduce childhood overdoses, restrict household drug theft, Medicines (2)limit the accumulation of drugs by the elderly, protect our physical environment, reduce pharmaceutical contamination of fresh water, and eliminate waste.

Also, research indicates that patients often do not take prescribed medications as directed, if at all. Thus, many unused medications are diverted, abused, and misused and could potentially lead to a major cause of accidental poisonings and arrests. The South Carolina law enforcement community has seen arrest rates for prescription drug-related offenses rise in the past several years.

Helping to protect our environment

In addition, after being flushed or poured down a drain, many medicines pass through sewer and septic systems. Because these systems cannot always treat or remove the medicines, they may end up in streams, lakes and groundwater. This can cause adverse effects in fish and other aquatic wildlife as well as unintentional human exposure to chemicals in the medications.

Keeping prescription and over-the-counter medicines out of the environment is an important way to prevent pollution. Drug disposal programs and events like drug take-back days provide a safe alternative to disposing unwanted or old medications.

Find out where to go 

To locate a collection site nearest you, click here.

DHEC in the News: West Nile, prescription drug arrest, Irma impact

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Second West Nile virus case confirmed in Rock Hill resident

A second case of West Nile virus has been confirmed in a Rock Hill resident, according to York County Emergency Management. …

To prevent mosquito exposure, the health department recommends residents …

Myrtle Beach dental assistant charged with obtaining prescription drugs illegally while on the job

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – A dental assistant was arrested Monday for allegedly obtaining prescription sedatives unlawfully while on the job.

According to online records from the J. Reuben Long Detention Center, Kathleen Capra, 48, was charged with theft of controlled substances.

General Interest

Irma spurs resurgence in allergy season, mosquito breeding

SOUTH CAROLINA (WSAV) – It’s been just over a week since Irma hit the Lowcountry, but many are left dealing with health concerns and irritants from the storm.

Dr. Jaime Lagos says Irma has left a trifecta of troubles for some allergy sufferers.

“The weed pollen has been stirred up to very large levels, and therefore they’re getting a lot more weed pollen,” Dr. Lagos says, “And on top of that, we have a lot more moisture which is causing the mold spores to reproduce at much higher levels.”

Add that to elm pollen, and it can make any post-storm cleanup unbearable.

Mosquitoes are another irritant causing issues after the storm.

Cracking down on painkiller abuse

By Jamie Shuster


The CDC recently sounded the alarm on a growing epidemic in our country: the over-prescription of opioid painkillers. According to the CDC, American health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for painkillers in 2012, enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills.

From a public health perspective, this is a serious concern as higher prescribing of pain killers is associated with more overdoses and deaths. Here in South Carolina, 102 prescriptions for painkillers are now written for every 100 residents, and more than 200 people die each year from accidental prescription drug overdose. All of these deaths are avoidable. Most are caused because people are able to shop for painkillers by contacting multiple pharmacies and physicians to receive separate prescriptions for the same drug.

To combat the problem, DHEC is working with health care providers and pharmacists across the state to increase the number of prescribers utilizing our enhanced prescription monitoring program known as SCRIPTS. Run by our Bureau of Drug Control, this voluntary, online database makes it easier for South Carolina doctors and pharmacists to identify and report potential prescription drug abuse.

How does it work? Continue reading